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The New Cogens - Backup Generation At Last

posted Mar 14, 2016, 1:26 PM by Marc Donner   [ updated Apr 12, 2016, 6:43 PM ]


205 West End started its first cogeneration project in 2003, prompted by a program from NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) to encourage installation of such systems by underwriting part, about half, of the capital cost of installation.

When it went live, several years later, our Cooperative was the first residential building in New York State with a cogeneration facility.  It was a cutting edge project that entailed a substantial effort to engineer for and properly manage heat, noise, and maintenance.

The system proved successful, providing a substantial portion of the electricity we consumed, all of the hot water, and a large amount of the steam used to heat the building in the cold part of the year.  The savings from the cogeneration system amounted to more than a million dollars during the life of the system.

In 2014 our original cogeneration units broke down in two separate incidents.  Our engineering advisors recommended that we replace them rather than repair them, so we embarked on a project to evaluate bidders and ultimately selected Tecogen as our provider.

Funding for the replacement comes from NYSERDA, from an insurance reimbursement for the failed units, and from the Cooperative’s capital fund.  The new cogeneration units will go into service in the very near future.

There are a number of substantial advances in this installation compared to the original.

Operational simplicity

The new cogeneration equipment will be connected on-line to a Tecogen facility that will monitor it continuously, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  This generation of equipment is off-the-shelf and standardized, making both operation and maintenance far easier and far less expensive than our first system.  This will result in fewer demands on our staff.

Backup generator capability

This system, unlike previous generations, is capable of continuing to produce electricity during a blackout.  The capacity of the system is not adequate to power the entire building in the event of a blackout, but it can power safety-critical facilities in the building so long as natural gas continues to flow.  We will use it to power these items:


·       One elevator on each side of the building will be powered.


·       Water to floors above 6 comes from tanks on the roof.  The water pumps that keep the tanks full will be powered by the backup capability, ensuring our water supply during a major blackout.

Public spaces

·       Lobby, hallways, and stairway lights.